Film Review: Spring Breakers (Division Films)

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Spring Breakers (2013)(l to r) Ashley Benson, James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens

by Pouya G. Asadi

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tumblr_mkc3deVLwI1s4kw7eo1_500Harmony Korine has become somewhat of an elusive/loved yet hated relic in the world of independent cinema.  Whether you are introduced to his work via his first script for Kids, or through his directorial 1999 debut, Gummo, you can tell he’s not your average artist.  Harmony presents taboo subject matter in his films that most people are not comfortable witnessing. Yet, his cinematic presence is incredibly powerful and infamous because of this.  Look at history, when Korine was 18 he wrote Kids, a film depicting the gritty rape culture found in the east coast.  Even in the news today, rape culture has become underlined and it should be noted that Korine addressed this chilling topic in his script for Kids, almost 20 years ago!  The organic and psychological approach that Korine takes to his films are always heavy and leave you thinking about their subjects for days, sometimes months, hopefully years.  Korine’s closest followers have noticed that he has been preparing for something big.  Over the past couple years Korine has been releasing raw and intrusive short films, the most notable one “Umshini Wam” which featured acting and music from Die Antwoord.  Another short he did with the guys from the Black Keys.  Some may say that these short films were sort of a ‘test run’ for this spectacular new feature that Korine was preparing for.

Spring Breakers, a film about a feeling; rather than an expose on youth. The sheer craft that is found here is proof that Korine is constantly evolving in his storytelling. The film is about 4 girls, but throughout the film it truly feels as if these 4 female characters are one entity.  They all represent the same brutally honest angst that’s found deep inside today’s youth.  In the film, the girls come up with dangerous ways of stealing money in order to travel to spring break mecca, St. Petersburg, Florida.  Korine has created a motion picture that truly encapsulates the feeling of spring break and looks like it was lit by Skittles, the colors bleed through and are literally candy to your eyes.  Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a digital production, Spring Breakers was filmed on 35mm film so perfectly it’s honestly a mindfuck.  Thanks to cinematographer, Benoît Debie (who has worked on all of French auteur Gaspar Noe‘s films) Spring Breakers should be shown in film schools around the world.  Not to mention the all-too-human feeling of the film’s editing, catapulting scenes into the viewer’s psyche. This is an exceptional production and a masterful piece of film making by Korine, someone who is so extremely hated and so undeniably loved simultaneously in the film world. Thank you Harmony, for teaching us something new about cinema and the lessons we can learn from taboo subject matter.

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Official Spring Breakers Website

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